Off-road trailers are a booming segment in overland travel. These highly specialized and over-engineered tag-alongs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and construction. Expedition Overland has used them for years, and trailers offer some unique advantages for the four-wheeled (or, ahem, six-wheeled) adventurer. They can be fully enclosed campers, set up as a dedicated versatile platform for rooftop tents and kitchens, and even just serve as a vehicle for shade and extra storage. They're exceptionally helpful for large groups on extended expeditions where you need to haul a ton of gear.
Expedition Overland has deployed trailers on their many adventures for years.
Trailers do come with some caveats, however. While they make great base-camps, they can sometimes put the brakes on where you travel, due to the extra length and limited maneuverability. Adding what is essentially another vehicle to your set-up means more maintenance and paying additional attention every day to the condition and functionality of your vehicles. They can be a drag on fuel economy. But the latest generation of off-road trailers are remarkably light-weight and super capable. They come with some pretty slick features that you might not even find in your rig itself.
Finally, you'll need to carefully plan your trailer set-up. Is your primary vehicle rated to tow trailers? If so, what's the maximum weight of its towing capacity? How much weight do you anticipate loading your trailer with? Are you set up with a trailer braking system? As always, keeping things as light as possible increases the margin of efficiency, capability, and - most importantly - safety.
Overlander: What trailer did you choose and why?
Overland Pioneers: [We choose the] XVenture XV-3 which is the smaller of the Xventure series trailers. It is made by Schutt Industries who build the best cargo hauling equipment for the military, and the XVenture series shares the same frame as the Light Tactical trailers Schutt makes. That is a construction that I trust and it’s proven itself time and time again.
OL: What is the purpose of your trailer for overlanding?
OP: We use [the XVenture] in two ways: to have a fully self-contained basecamp that we can return to after a long day out exploring areas, while [still] staying light with its all-aluminum construction.
And [we use it to keep] weight off our main rig, so while we are out exploring we keep our vehicle as capable as possible!
OL: What is the best factory feature of the trailer?
OP: I would say its main modular truck bed style cargo area. So many trailers on the market choose the cargo compartment sizes for the consumer, limiting where they can put the accessories they choose to bring. With one large cargo area you have endless pack out options.
OL: What products have you added or plan on adding?
OP: I am excited to be getting a new XVenture XV-3 with the updated pull out galley, so I’m going to need more Zarges cases to expand my kitchen setup. I’ve got to start studying Marco Hernandez’s “The Overland Cookbook”!
OL: Do you feel you can use this trailer for all your trips, or does it limit where you can travel?
OP: I haven’t been stopped once on a trip because of the trailer. The trailer has more clearance than our Jeep Gladiator does, so it takes whatever we throw at it!
[To] anyone thinking of getting or building a overlanding trailer I would say go for it! There are so many amazing overland trailer companies out there. Do your research to see what is best for you and your group. Along with being handy extra cargo haulers, they make for the perfect gathering spot - especially with an awesome 270° awning like we have!
One more thing I’ll mention is trailers change the way your vehicle handles roads and trails. Getting a good brake controller like the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite - which has an off-road mode - is crucial. Protect what you build or buy. Much like recovery gear, you don’t skimp on safety equipment.
Redarc Tow-Pro Elite
Stephan Edward with David Lewis
Photos: Expedition Overland and Overland Pioneers
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